The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2012 Records

Reviewed by Kate X Messer, March 16, 2012, Music

Imperial Teen

Feel the Sound (Merge)

Despite side projects and time apart (Will Schwartz's Hey Willpower, Roddy Bottum's film scores, etc.), Imperial Teen just can't quit us – or each other. From the opening Supertramp-y keyboard salvo on "Runaway" to the churning Velvets choogle and weird Carpenters vox on the road-tripping "Hanging About" and hand-clap delirium of "All the Same," they dip in the pop-rock pool and spread the bubbly referents in ways that may confound yet still engage kids. Having enjoyed cult status since forming over 15 years ago, the Bay Areans' staying power means their influence is catching up with them. They now occupy that golden age of access to an audience hungry for tweaked pop, suckled on bands like Men and the Wild Beasts. The Imps' unsettling understanding of disparate elements of even the cheesiest pop through the ages is ultimately what grounds them as the godfathers of the new queer twee. (Fri., 11:30pm, Frank)


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